In about a week our nation will celebrate Memorial Day. Here in Indiana we’ll get fired up for the Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing. Some families will go to the cemetery and honor loved ones.
It’s a wonderful holiday and I hope you get to enjoy it.
So let’s use the “memorial” portion of the holiday to talk a little bit about a common mistake managers, especially new ones, make.
They don’t remember those who came before.
I’m reminded of the old – and less than positive saying that someone wakes up on third base and thinks they hit a triple.
Chances are new managers are not the second coming. They may be good. Heck, they may be great. But chances are that there were good – and great – managers before.
We’ve all seen it, right? The new manager points out all the improvements and fixes they’ve made. This can be dangerous. Many a youngster has thrown their arms out of socket patting themselves on the back to a degree that they missed work (HIPPA regulations prevent me from sharing names).
All kidding aside, most of us have been there, bragged on that. Many of us, yours truly included, talked about all those things we fixed and all those improvements we made. Little did we know that our bosses had heard it all before. They knew – or at least they hoped – that we would grow wiser and more mature and move past such silly utterings.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what predecessors did. Managers are not judged on them. Managers are hired to do a job, whether it was a finely tuned machine or a complete mess. Doesn’t really matter. It’s your job now and you are expected to do those wonderful things you’re patting yourself on the back for.
And here’s another thing, you don’t sound good when you are downgrading someone else – especially if they are no longer there. And unless you have intimate knowledge of said previous relationships, how do you know you aren’t sticking your foot into a mess?
It’s smart to remember what your mom taught you. Always say nice things about people. And if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Next week: Make Politics Great Again

The Management 101 File is written by Tim Timmons. You can reach Tim at Timmons’ book, Coaching Success: Creating Champions for the Business World is available at